Wednesday, 28 January 2015

O that today you would listen to his voice!

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

This week in a little liturgy I have looked at the way God speaks to us and tried to touch upon how Church teaching is established.  The extra activities section looks at St Paul. The cartoons, though light hearted, explore some of Paul's work and life.  

This week we also celebrate The Feasts of St Brigid (1st Feb) and The Presentation of the lord (2nd Feb).   For more information and some lovely activities designed by "sparky" click below:

The Kids Bulletin

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading
Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Moses tells the people that God will give them a prophet who they must listen to.  This is because at Horeb they were overwhelmed by hearing God's voice.  God says he will put words into the prophet's mouth and the people will listen.

Ps 94:1-2,6-9. R. v9
O that today you would listen to his voice!  Harden not your hearts.

Second Reading
Corinthians 7:32-35
Again St Paul encourages us to focus purely on the Lord.  He says that a married person has to bother about the affairs of the world and about pleasing a partner.  However, if you are not married you can devote yourself to God.  He says that the Corinthians should give "undivided attention to the Lord".

Mark 1:21-28
Jesus went to Capernaum with his followers and began to teach in the Synagogue.  St Mark says:  "His teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority."
There was a man who was possessed with an unclean spirit and it cried out - Jesus spoke to it and said "Be quiet!  Come out of him!"The spirit left the man and the people were amazed.  Jesus' reputation spread all over the countryside.


Sometimes we look at the scripture readings and see stories about characters and places that feel alien to us.  However, if we think carefully about the readings, we can see that God is speaking to us just as he spoke to these characters.
In the first reading God uses a prophet (Moses) to speak to his people and says that he will continue to do this by choosing people to speak his words.  In the Second Reading God speaks to us through St Paul.  In the Gospel we witness God's words though Jesus as described by St Mark.  As Christians we can always communicate with God by reading the scriptures.  
We have probably not experienced God as described in the Old Testament - speaking directly to us and in flames.  We probably think of marriage as a good thing - St Paul seems to be warning us about it.  We are unlikely to have seen someone who is possessed by a devil that calls out - as St Mark describes.
These ideas are strange to us but they tell us of the power of God and how he has interacted with people in the past.   In each example they show how God was responding to a specific set of circumstances.  He gave answers and help to the Israelites who could not bear to hear his voice, the Corinthians who were asking about marriage and the people in the temple who saw an evil spirit.

Activities during Mass

St Mark tells us that Jesus spoke with authority.  The Church tries to continue this.  For example the Creed we are about to say was written by the people in the church at the Council of Nicea in the forth century (the Nicene Creed).  It states the key beliefs in Christianity and is an example of the church teaching with authority.  We believe that the Holy Spirit guides the church in deciding what to teach.

Try to answer these questions by picking out phrases from the creed:

Why did Jesus come down from heaven?

What happened after Jesus ascended into heaven?

Who has spoken through the prophets?

What is the effect of Baptism?

The church is described as: "holy, catholic and apostolic".
This means that it is a gift from God, it is here for everyone and that it was handed down to us from the apostles.  So the church today continues the teaching of Jesus - coming to Mass is a bit like going to listen to him teaching in the synagogue.

Because he is close to us at Mass, we state our belief and then ask God to help us in specific ways.  This section of the liturgy is called:

The Prayer of the Faithful (or Bidding Prayers)

Somebody reads the prayers out and we all respond together by asking God to hear us.  This helps us to connect the Church with things that we are experiencing in the world and our lives.

If you were writing these prayers today what would you ask for help with?





What response is usually used in your church?

Other Activities and Resources

The Gospel tells us that Jesus went to the synagogue in Capernaum.  Click on the link below to see pictures and read more about this region.

Information about Capernaum

St Paul wrote many letters (epistles) to communities that he had visited.  Sometimes he answered questions that they asked him.  Make a list of all the people he wrote to.  You will find the letters in the New Testament after the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, starting with his letter to the Romans.

You can check your answers here:

Youtube cartoon about St Paul's epistles

and discover some more interesting facts here:

Youtube cartoon about letter to the Romans

and (in a more serious format) here:

Interesting facts about St Paul

I hope you have enjoyed a little liturgy this week!

Best wishes


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